Like the HBO film Iron Jawed Angels, Chance's novel depicts a turn-of-the-century woman's struggle to find fulfillment in a repressive society. With its unexpected plot twist, careful pacing and deft characterization, Chance's novel is spellbinding.

As she did in Susannah Morrow, Chance explores women who do not fit into society's standards and are on the verge of breaking free of its strictures.

For Lucy, wife of wealthy stockbroker William Carleton, the pressure of adhering to the demands of her smothering husband and domineering father results in hysteria, making it impossible for her to have a child. In a desperate move, William enlists the aid of Dr. Victor Seth, who practices the new science of neurology, hypnotism.

Seth's unconventional treatments unleash Lucy's passion for art and sexual desire and sparks an affair between the two. In retaliation, William commits his wife to an asylum, where she suffers harsh treatment and abuse. Refusing to be victimized any longer, Lucy takes matters into her own hands.

(Apr., 400 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin